‘All the action from ‘A view from the Bridge’ revolves around Eddie Carbone. His character controls the drama.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Arthur Miller wrote ‘A View from the Bridge’ in 1955. It is set in the 1950’s by the docks of New York. The play is about an Italian immigrant family. Eddie Carbone is the guardian and is very protective of his niece Catherine, and when he refuses to let go of her, it ends in tragedy. I am going to write about Eddie Carbone, his character, and his relationships with the other characters and about the key scenes in the play.
In general, Eddie Carbone is a hard working long shore man, who works on the Brooklyn Docks. He is very much a man’s man. He can change the atmosphere of a scene just by making a snide remark. When Rodolpho, Marco, Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine are talking, Rodolpho starts singing jazz: everyone is enjoying it: “Look kid; you don’t want to be picked up do ya?” Just from that remark, Eddie has changed the atmosphere from a happy, laughing atmosphere to a tense and gloomy one. Eddie can control the scenes; he can control the characters. Eddie is one of those people who act without thinking.
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Even he admits that: ” I do what I feel like doin’, or what I don’t feel like doin'”. He also has an obsessive protectiveness of Catherine and is very stubborn and will not let her go. Yet Eddie has a lot of good characteristics. He treats Catherine like his own daughter. There is only one weakness in his character, his desire to do things without thinking about them. For instance if he had not reported Marco and Rodolpho to immigration he might be still alive at the end of the play. If he had not taken a knife with him when he went to meet Marco then he would not have died. It is these impulses that led to his downfall.
Next I am going to discuss Eddie’s relationship with Catherine, which is crucial to the drama. Because it is him obsession which leads him to inform on Rodolpho and Marco. Eddie has a lively intimate relationship with his niece Catherine. He treats her like his own and during the opening scene, comments on how lovely she looks: “Beautiful, turn around, lemme see the back”. But at the same time he criticises her in the way she walks: “I don’t want to be a pest, but I’m telling you, you’re walking wavy”.
He knows she is attractive, but he does not want her to get the attention of the men in the outside world, but his relationship with her is more than just an uncle/niece relationship. He is so protective of her; he is obsessed with her. Everyone in the play can see the closeness of his relationship with Catherine will end in tears one way or another. At the start of Act one Catherine does not mind a close relationship, but half way through Act one she starts to rebel against him: “I don’t talk to you (Eddie) what do you mean?”
Eddie thinks that now she has met Rodolpho she is going to be a completely changed person. He does not want her to change, but at the end of the day she is still going to be Catherine and he is still going to be her legal guardian. He wants the best for Catherine, but he will not let her have what she really wants – Rodolpho. Eddie tries to put her off Rodolpho: “He don’t respect you” He is unwilling to let Catherine go, he wants her all to himself.
He deludes himself into thinking that it is not like that but it is his refusal to accept this, which leads to his death. He is bad at expressing his true emotions. In Act two his emotions are truly seen by the audience. When his kisses her on the mouth, it represents his true feeling towards her. He wants their relationship to be more than it is. Also, in the last scene of the play all his built up anger explodes, and he takes it all out on Marco. But it does not work and he ends up dead.
Now I am going to discuss Eddie’s relationship with Beatrice. Beatrice tries to make Eddie see that he is obsessed with Catherine and is smothering her. But he does not listen because he has such a big obsession. Beatrice acts as a mediator to Eddie in the play. She tries to warn Eddie, tries to smooth things over. It is as if she can see what is going to happen, and she tries to avert the disaster, but to no avail.
During the play Beatrice tries to stand up to Eddie, but Eddie wins in most circumstances. This shows that he controls the action completely and no other character can change the drama, but they can add to the play and its outcomes. In the very first scene when Catherine tells Eddie that she has got a job, Eddie says she cannot take it. Beatrice stands up to him and he reluctantly stands down. It is almost as if that has made him more stubborn, as she tries to stand up to him again, she cannot. Although she cannot win an argument with him, she is not afraid to speak her mind.